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Muslim-Friendly Cruise Report: Mastercard Highlights Travel Industry Trends

Apr 2024

The foreword to the Mastercard-CrescentRating Muslim-friendly Cruise Report by Safdar Khan, Division President, Southeast Asia, Mastercard.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, it is heartening to witness the travel industry resiliently steering past the adverse impacts. At Mastercard, we expect this recovery to continue, bolstered by a global economy that will embrace a greater sense of “normalcy” this year compared to the previous three years.

Travel Rebound Expected in 2024, Powered by Easing Restrictions and Pent-Up Demand

Research from the Mastercard Economics Institute for 2024 forecasts a year marked by easing inflation across most economies in Southeast Asia, although the effects will differ from country to country. We believe this in turn will lead to an empowered consumer, with more purchasing power and fewer constraints on how and where they spend their money. Travel will be a major beneficiary of this trend.

Our data also suggests that consumers in the region will likely allocate more of their spend on discretionary items over essentials in 2024, with travel and entertainment taking up a greater share of wallets. Add to this the continuing release of pent-up demand for travel and new experiences and we are looking at a potential boost for travel operators.

However, to keep growing, the travel industry must understand the customers’ changing preferences. Key among these is the shift towards a digital-first mindset, making it crucial for the travel industry to stay updated on technological changes to ensure ongoing success and satisfaction.

Digital Transformation Key to Travel Industry Success

The growing consumer preference for contactless digital payments, such as QR codes, digital or mobile wallets, biometrics, and more, will continue to be instrumental in sustaining the ongoing recovery and future growth of travel. Now is the time for all travel stakeholders to proactively adapt to this trend, or risk being left behind. As new opportunities emerge, we encourage all players in the eco-system to invest and make the necessary changes to ensure they remain relevant for consumers and are able to help shape the future of payments in the travel sector.

Global Challenges Remain, but Consumer Strength Bodes Well for Industry

The global travel industry will no doubt face some challenging headwinds in the months ahead, given the global conflicts and inflation dynamics. However, consumers still find themselves in a better financial position than at any time since the pandemic, which we believe will contribute to the industry’s continued growth.

Mastercard Committed to Supporting Travel Industry's Future

Mastercard is deeply committed to supporting the ongoing global travel recovery and shaping its future growth and expansion. We value our decade-long partnership with HalalTrip and CrescentRating and look forward to continued collaboration to help the travel sector and related industries adapt and innovate to meet the needs and expectations of the Muslim traveler.

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